BMO will increase the rate guarantee period for mortgages from 90 days to 130 days—the longest among Canada’s major banks—amid expectations for continued BoC rate hikes in 2018, the bank said in a release.
The change provides homebuyers additional time to finalize their mortgage plans with their guaranteed pre-approved rate, the bank says.
“In the coming year, homebuyers face tougher mortgage rules, a rising interest rate environment and uncertain housing markets in high-priced regions,” Sal Guatieri, BMO’s senior economist, said in a statement. “After pulling the rate trigger on Jan. 17, we expect the Bank of Canada to raise policy rates two more times this year by a total of 50 basis points to address potential inflation risks stemming from an economy pushing against capacity limits.”
Guatieri notes that a tighter monetary policy, together with interest rate pressures arising from a stronger U.S. economy, will likely lift longer-term interest rates in Canada by half a percentage point this year. An extended rate guarantee, he says, would give buyers more time to assess the impact of new mortgage rules on house prices in high-priced areas, like Toronto and Vancouver, before making a decision.